Developing Your Employees’ Business Skills Leveraging Government Grants

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Doug Reed of FosterGrowth

Did you know that the government wants to invest in business learning and coaching programs for you and your people?  You can receive up to $30,000/yr to improve your business.  This page summarizes the grant program, the easy application process and FosterGrowth’s grant eligible learning and coaching programs.

See what this CEO had to say about the grant program.

“When I found myself with 20 employees and no business training, I needed to do something. The grant program really made it financially attractive. So, I just did it.” Stacey DePasquale, P.E., CEO SDE, Inc

The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) will subsidize your learning programs to increase your competitiveness and employment. The application process is surprisingly easy and on-line. You only do it once and it takes less than 10 minutes.

After your firm is approved, usually less than two weeks,  you simply login to your account and register for the courses in which you are interested.

If your firm has less than 100 employees in Massachusetts locations the state will grant you up to $30,000 per year.  Note that you can be a huge international firm and still receive grant funds. You just need to have less than 100 employees in Massachusetts.

CAUTION: Make sure you take advantage of this grant while 2017 funds are still available. Apply now, secure approval, and register for the desired courses.  Once you are registered and approved you will have one year to complete the course.  Do it now!

Go to Commonwealth Express Program to apply and you will be ready to go. Questions? Email douglasreed@fostergrowth.biz.

Are FosterGrowth’s learning and coaching programs for me?

If you are a Business to Business (B2B) Service firm such as marketing, advertising, engineering, architecture, accounting, information management, or law the learning and coaching programs listed below are for you.

FosterGrowth’s programs are not a fit if you’re…..

A business to consumer (B2C) retail firm, or a B2B firm primarily engaged in manufacturing or product sales. Also, non-profit or government entities are not eligible for the WTFP.  You must employ W-2 employees because part of the employment insurance paid on those employees is what funds the WTFP.

FosterGrowth has 8 Express Grant Eligible Programs

All of the programs will be delivered at your corporate site or a site selected by you. If desired, some programs can be delivered through an audio and video conference call.

“I’m an engineer and I’m not a business person. So where he (Doug) has direct experience in the industry and was offering these programs, I thought it would be very beneficial. I’ve worked with business advisors outside of the industry, and I’ve found that working with somebody in the industry has helped a lot.” CEO, 25 employee environmental services firm. 

Take a look at FosterGrowth’s learning and coaching program summaries below.

2017-3-grant-funded-programs

To explore how these programs will grow your business, please schedule a meeting here or email me at douglasreed@fostergrowth.biz.

Learning Program Descriptions-Workforce #

 1. LEARN TO LOVE NETWORKING #1112066

The first stage in sales is the first connection to a prospect. Everyone in the company can and should be contributing to generating leads through their encounters at events. Yet most fear entering a room where they don’t know anyone.

This interactive, three hour role playing workshop will put people at ease and even excited at how quickly they can change their perspective and work a room creating dozens of positive first relationships. This workshop has value to every employee both in their business and personal life.

Class facilities are provided by employer. Note the minimum class size is 10 participants and the maximum class size is 25.  For more than 25, two workshops are provided.

I have been applying your fundamentals from the Learn to Love Networking over  the past month or so with good success.  Last evening I had at least 20 or more conversations during my 2.5 hours at the event and made at least 10 new contacts and moved about the room continuously.  I employed a patient approach and was comfortable standing on my own and waiting for my intro or entry into another conversation. Thanks for your training class as it was very insightful and helpful and I have enjoyed applying the skills!  Jason Chrzanowski, Project Manager, GZA.  

2. LISTENING FOR RELATIONSHIPS #1098034 (8 or fewer participants) and #1098025 (9 or more)

Professional services sales are strongly correlated with client relationships. Most company employees can contribute to strong relationships by learning how to have effective conversations. Having a company aligned to this concept is a powerful business strategy.

This course teaches employees to be comfortable and motivated to having conversations with active and intended clients. Participants will gain credibility because they will fully understand the client’s concerns. With this awareness, they will be able to synthesize what is learned to position them to be seen as the client’s preferred choice.  This course is particularly useful when the client is comprised of many persons who influence your ability to do business with them.

This three hour course involves active role playing, assessments, feedback and encouragement. Class size is limited to 25 or fewer per workshop.

3. LISTENING FOR RELATIONSHIPS (REFRESHER) #1098035

Practice leads to proficiency and a built-in skill set that endures. This is a follow-up two hour workshop where participants who have taken the basic class enjoy role playing, coaching and encouragement. They will bring real-life experiences with the methods into the class for analysis and refinement. Class size is limited to 25 or fewer per workshop.

4 and 5. CORPORATE ADVISORY SERVICES- TWO PROGRAMS FOR ONGOING SUPPORT

This Corporate Advisory Service provides a small firm with advantages often found within large firms who have an external Board of Directors and/or retained corporate advisors.   Participants build on their business experience and become stronger leaders and business persons.

Firms who have a very small management team often struggle with non-technical business issues such as managing risks, cash flow, hiring, retention, pricing, differentiation, marketing, sales, business and strategic planning.

This program provides expert advice and learning over six to twelve sessions.  The program can be extended to secure long term support.  A learning outcome will be proficiency in the application and real world adjustments in managing a healthy business.  The scope of the two programs are as follows:

4. SERVICE/MARKET ANALYSIS & BUSINESS PLANNING ONGOING SUPPORT (TWELVE SESSIONS) #1098432

Consistent profits and job growth occur when we identify what works and what does not, and make effective adjustments. What are your urgent priorities? This program focuses on helping you to remove barriers so your specific goals are achieved.

Participant choices for this program include C-Suite Executives,  the Board of Directors, the firm’s Management Team and/or Project Managers. The participants will vary based on the priorities to be addressed.

Examples of topics include strategic and tactical advice, learning business methods, mergers and acquisition support, development of analytical tools to assess progress against goals, manage financial risks, change management, sales, budget control, business planning, key retention and hiring strategies. The learning outcome will be proficiency in the application and real world adjustments in these business topics.

The program will be conducted in the employer’s office or by video conference call. Twelve sessions are provided, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, for up to 3 hours each. Limited support between meetings such as phone consultations and review of emailed documents are included.

5. SERVICE/MARKET ANALYSIS & BUSINESS PLANNING ONGOING SUPPORT (SIX SESSIONS) #1098433

The features and benefits of this program are identical to #1098432 except there are six sessions. This program is aimed at a single issue resolution or very small firm support.

6. PROFITABLE CULTURE-BUSINESS LEARNING

Top Profits are elusive for many firms.  It does not have to be.  This program combines two modules. First, an interactive 0n-line business learning program for managers and principals of A/E/Environmental Services firms that teaches participants how to secure and maintain high project profits. The second module runs concurrently and provides live real-time application of the skills to participants real projects.  The outcome is proficiency and permanent profit gains.

The second module makes use of Workforce programs 5 and 6.  The first is a separate purchase and is not grant funded.  Information on both modules are presented and viewed here PROFITABLE CULTURE.  Both modules do not have to be purchased but it is highly recommended to maximize profit.

“We put our entire management team through the business management training program and have seen almost instantaneous improvement in our bottom line.” Bill Zink, P.E., President, Christopher Consultants

7. STRATEGIC PLANNING: ALIGNING TO WIN WITH HIGH DEMAND SERVICES #1098429 (51-100 employees) and #1098428 (10-50)

A business that continuously evolves its services and products to stay where demand is high performs well in both strong and weak economies. An outcome is increased revenue, hiring and career fulfillment.

Participants in this workshop will learn, analyze and test business models, customer expectations, consider competitors’ positioning, the firm’s sales effectiveness, the firm’s position, market shifts, prioritize investment, and develop a measurable and achievable plan.

Two workshops are provided. The first is to learn business growth elements and methods to analysis current and desired position. The second workshop will validate and adjust the plan to overcome barriers and develop track able metrics. This is an excellent program to identify critical strategies so a business plan, which is more tactical, is supported and clearly aligned to goals.

The duration of the workshops varies based on firm size.  They range from 4-8 hours.

“…if you want to truly have a strategic plan that is usable, the best thing to do is get a consultant. And Doug was the right person for us. Doug was very thought provoking on identifying what our goals are. Chris Mulleavey, CEO, Hoyle, Tanner & Associates 

8. BUSINESS PLANNING: YOUR WINNING ANNUAL PLAYBOOK #1098431 (51-100 employees) and #1098430 (10-50)

 A successful business planning process clearly identifies the goals and concerns of each person that influences a firm’s performance, leverages these individual and collective strengths, and addresses the changes in markets served with an achievable action plan.

Participants will use business planning methods to analyze past organizational performance, assess the impact of market changes, conduct a SWOT analysis, identify external and internal differentiators, and resources required from human resources to technology, marketing and finance.

Participants will populate a business planning template, and work as a group to develop a comprehensive action plan. A second workshop is provided for input and guidance, and to finalize the plan.

The duration of the workshops varies based on size of the firm. They range from 3-5 hours.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR AN EXPRESS GRANT?

(Pretty much everyone with 100 or fewer employees)

Even though your company doesn’t need to be based on MA, you do need a current Certificate of Good Standing with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

Click Here to be directed to the Express Program site.  

It is highly recommended that you request the Certificate of Good Standing now, making it available upon application approval. For the purposes of the WFTP the Certificate of Good Standing is only valid for 6 months.

Eligibility Questionnaire (As seen on the  DET web site)

You will receive funding if Yes to each

Does the company have 100 or fewer employees?
OR  Is the company a labor organization?
Yes/No
Is the company a non-governmental entity? Yes/No
Is the maximum amount of grant being requested $30,000 or less? Yes/No
Is the cost per trainee paid with grant funds $3,000 or less? Yes/No
Will the company pay for at least half of the total cost of training? Yes/No
Are all trainees employed in Massachusetts? Yes/No
Does the company pay into the Workforce Training Fund?

(All for-profit companies with MA payroll pay this)

Yes/No
Is the company current with unemployment insurance benefits? Yes/No
Will training start within 6 months of grant award? Yes/No
Will individual training components last for 12 months or less? Yes/No
Training has not commenced yet and will not for at least six weeks from today’s date. Yes/No
Is training job related? Yes/No

Call 617-758-7000 for further information or email douglasreed@fostergrowth.biz.

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